9th September 2022 (still, obviously)

The big night in Kirkwall, the day before the completion of the Good Beer Guide (what could possibly go wrong now ?).

The Auld Motor Hoose left till later, the Ayre ticked with a half of foam, we now reached three (3) GBG entries IN A ROW.

This is what us professional Guide tickers dream about in those dark nights of the soul when we walk 3 miles from a Lancashire station to a closed micro.

There was no sign of pubs closing early in respect to Her Majesty, so I nipped in the first one while Mrs RM had a comfort break.

Every autumn, for the last 25 years or so, I’ve pored over the entries in the Good Beer Guide, marvelling at the cluster of Kirkwall entries with names like Helgi’s and Ola’s and Skipper’s, wondering if they’d be worth the wait.

Helgi’s was a bit cafe bar/bistro, the sort of place you’d get on Macclesfield’s Sunderland Street,

but while the young folk in baseball caps seemed to be on the McEwans (back in fashion) there was plenty of cask being sunk as the weekend started.

My only gripe here was the lack of a seat, so it was an unsatisfactory snatched half of the ubiquitous but consistently good Scapa Special (NBSS 3) and a move on.

If you have time on your own visit, stop to admire the defacing of the King Dias mural near the Ola, a reference to Rúben’s calamitous display for City against Brentford yesterday, a game in which he wasn’t actually playing.

For some reason we then reverted to our original strategy, and Mrs RM popped in St Ola to confirm they’d be open beyond 6pm, then we scooted to the Skippers Bar in Kirkwall’s eponymous hotel.

Note the chaps outside the hotel delivering the giant plant pots in advance of my momentous visit;

This was the point in the evening where it nearly fell apart, the Beecher’s Brook of the ticker’s course if you like.

The entry was blocked by a “greeter” who told us they were full. Full !

But, we only wanted a beer !” I whimpered.

Oh, you’ll be wanting the public bar, round the corner in the alley“. Phew.

The Skippers wasn’t a grizzled old classic, but it was in its humble way a corker.

Lovely atmosphere, mixed crowd, pool table and snooker photos, an apology for keeping me waiting a couple of minutes, fantastic beer.

Both the Scapa Special and the Orkney Dark were cool, crisp and rich (NBSS 4), some of the best beer of the year. When Scotland gets it right it’s hard to beat.

Three down, two to go. Duncan wondered where we were.

If you’re wondering what footballing legend Garth Crooks sounds like, wonder no more.

3 thoughts on “A SCAPA SPECIAL

  1. We couldn’t get a seat in Helgi’s either, all set for diners. Had to stand at the bar, but cheerful service and excellent beer. Scapa Special is special. We visited the brewery bottle shop, about as far north as you can go on Mainland, pretty bleak location. They plan to open a taproom so prepare to visit (GBG 2024?)

    Liked by 1 person

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